Why a Mouth Guard is the Best Solution for Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea mouth guardObstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition where a person’s airflow is blocked during sleep, often hundreds of times per night, causing temporary oxygen shortages. Symptoms include loud snoring, constant fatigue and, oftentimes, obesity.

Sleep apnea greatly increases a person’s risk for multiple health problems including stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure.

One of the foremost treatments for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea are mouthguard-style devices commonly referred to as “oral appliances.” These devices are specially fit by a dentist and alleviate the wearer’s airflow obstruction by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward from its normal resting state, restraining the tongue from falling to the back of the throat and preventing the collapse of soft tissues (soft palate and uvula) during sleep.

Sleep apnea mouth guard devices are designed to be used either alone or along with additional treatment techniques such as weight loss, surgery or CPAP machines.

Sleep apnea greatly increases a person’s risk for multiple health problems including stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure.

Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard Benefits

Benefits of using a mouth guard for sleep apnea treatment include its non-invasive nature, size and convenience for traveling, comfort and ease of use. Surgery is considered a temporary cure as many cases relapse.

mouth guard for sleep apnea

mouth guard for sleep apnea

Oral Device Types

There are two types of mouth guards commonly used to treat sleep apnea: Mandibular advancement devices (MAD) and Tongue retraining devices (TRD).

MAD devices fit like a typical mouth guard and alleviate the wearer’s airflow obstruction by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward from its normal resting state, allowing air to flow more naturally while the patient sleeps.

TRD devices restrain the tongue from falling to the back of the throat to obstruct airflow. These devices act like a splint to hold the tongue in place while the user sleeps.

Fitting the Mouth Guard

Sleep Apnea Mouth GuardThe American Academy of Sleep Medicine has released detailed practice parameters for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliances. Because of the wide variation in jaw size, tooth placement and tongue positioning, custom-fitted mouth guards are far more effective than over the counter devices.

It is strongly advised that mouth guards used to treat sleep apnea be fitted by a dental professional trained and experienced in the overall care of oral health, dental occlusion, the temporomandibular joint, and associated oral structures. Users should follow up their treatment with periodic sleep study monitoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can lead to numerous health problems including increased risk of stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. It is important to treat sleep apnea to reduce your risk of suffering these medical problems, but also to get more effective sleep and reduce your drowsiness.

Medically fitted mouth guards are the least expensive, easiest, least invasive treatment option for apnea sufferers. Contact us today to start getting the benefits of a good night’s sleep and reverse the long-term health effects of oxygen deprivation.


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